Re: [Harp-L] 4th Position Harmonica

Sometimes a tune requires a flatted 6th (the natural minor scale has a flatted 3rd, 6th, and 7th.) This is available in 4th position as 2" (2 draw bent a whole step) or 5 draw or 9 draw. Often this is the only way to play a specific melody without overblows.

Straight, No Chaser (Thelonious Monk)
Manha de Carnival, aka A Day In The Life of a Fool (Luis Bonfa)
How High the Moon (Morgan Lewis)
Afternoon in Paris (John Lewis)
Tune Up (Miles Davis)

If you simply copy other harp players, you won't find many examples of 4th position. Charlie Musselwhite plays "Can't Stay Away From You" and "Azul Para Amparo" in 4th and John Hammond plays "Clap Hands" in 4th. So generally, you're safe, if you want to sound like another harmonica player. However, "Straight, No Chaser" IS a blues tune.

If you are trying to push the repertoire boundaries, or want to hang with horn players or remain on stage in a jazzier jam, other positions including 12th, 5th, and 6th will come in handy.

I'm not stageworthy with the unusual positions yet, but I know I'm going to need them and will try to know which tunes go with what positions. I did have a successful experience at a jam playing "Georgia on My Mind" in 12th position.

Steve in Reno/Tahoe

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